Smith Center Gets Video Upgrade

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. ---- The Carolina basketball experience speaks for itself at the Dean E. Smith Center. But that doesn't mean the "Dean Dome" wasn't in need of some enhancements - especially in the video department.

There have been a number of behind-the-scenes enhancements to the two-decade-old facility this offseason - large photos in the hallways outside the locker room and stairwell leading to it, some additions to the memorabilia room and a restructuring of the banners that hang from the rafters (including the 2005 championship banner that will be raised during Late Night with Roy Williams on Oct. 14).

However, the most important offseason change will be the replacement of the outdated video boards. It was hard not to notice the problems the four checkerboard screens experienced in recent years, such as bulb outages and discolorations - and UNC heard about it frequently from the fans.

This season, the fans' concerns will be silenced by four state-of-the-art "MegaVision" screens.

"It's been in the works for quite a while," said Michael Beale, UNC's director of sports marketing. "We've known we've needed to upgrade."

The screens' dimensions are 17.8'-by-23.6', according to Norwood Teague, the associate athletic director of sports marketing.

"That is the actual video board display, not the total structure," Teague explained. "This makes these some of the largest indoor boards in the country."

From a technical standpoint, the resolution for the new screens is 16mm (which is the measurement between each color pixel). Traditional JumboTrons in the 1980s were at best around 50mm. As a result of MegaVision's "Pixelization" technology, they are able to provide a resolution that is about three times better.

Fans in the Smith Center can therefore expect a high-quality image from wherever they sit and, coupled with the LED ribbon boards added last season, this will increase the staff's capability to show more highlights, statistics and other features.

"Obviously our goal is always to improve the atmosphere and enhance the fan experience," Beale said. "This year we'll be able to have more stats, cleaner images, better player profiles - anything we want to do. We have the ability now for the pure reasons that the boards before were so old."

Beale said the project is now nearing completion.

"They'll be up and running for 'Late Night,'" he added.

As for future projects, perhaps extending the LED ribbon boards all the way around the interior as can be seen in many other arenas?

"We are certainly looking into doing that in the future," Beale said. After last year, they were a huge hit and generated a lot of excitement from ours fans. But we had to address the glaring [video board] issue. That was the glaring issue that we heard fans talk about the most."

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